At a Session of the General Assembly at Hartford, March 10, 1663
This Court orders Thomas Edwards and the rest of the inhabitants at Hockanum, all above sixteen years old, to take some speedy opportunity to make two Bridges, the one over the Brook at the place called Sadler Ordinary, the other at Frog Brook, where may be most suitable; in each Bridge to lay three Trees, so hewed that they may be sufficient for horses to pass safe over. Thomas Edwards is to oversee the work, and is empowered to call the rest of the persons forth to perform the work, according to the Court's expectation herein; and the Court allows ten shillings towards the work, out of the Public Treasury; it is to be finished before May Court. They are to mark out the way from ye Common way to the Bridge at Frog Brook.
Bridge Building in the Early Colonial Period
In March 1663 the Connecticut Colony General Assembly ordered two bridges to be built in Hockanum. This is probably East Harford. Today there is a Hockanum River than runs through Vernon, Ellington, Manchester, and East Hartford. Hockanum is an Algonquian word of the Podunk people who lived in central Connecticut meaning "hook-shaped."
The general assembly gave detailed instructions.
- Every person over the age of 16 living in the town (we might assume they meant men and boys) must help build the bridges.
- Thomas Edwards was appointed to supervise the work.
- The bridges were to be made of three large trees laid across the brook from bank to bank.
- The logs were to be "hewed" or cut flat on the side facing up so that horses could safely walk across.
- The general assembly allowed payment of 10 shillings out of the colony's funds for the work.
- The work should be completed by May.
- But the general assembly left it to Edwards and the townspeople to decide where it was best to put the bridges. The records do not say how the 10 shillings was to be spent or where the trees would come from.
Source: The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Volume 1, page 417